By SARAH DOOLITTLE
Four Points News
Vandegrift hosted its 7th Relay For Life April 7 with over 750 participants raising $33,000 for the American Cancer Society. Over the last seven years combined, the Viper community has raised over $200,000 at Relay in the fight against cancer.
For the first time in three years, the event was held outdoors under clear skies. Students, teachers and survivors walked the track in groups, while in the center field others threw frisbees and footballs, rolled on giant inflatable balls, or listed to music from the Bethany Becker Band.
At 9 p.m., as is tradition, the lights were turned off and the luminaria ceremony began. Students whose lives had been affected by cancer spoke, then invited attendees to light their luminarias.
Carson Broe was one such student to speak. Broe lost his brother Pierce to cancer in 2014.
“He loved life. He was just such a funny guy,” said Broe, describing the 12-year-old. “I’m not going to make him out to be an angel, but he was a great brother.” The Broe family lives in River Place and recently hosted their own Pierce Your Heart St. Baldrick’s fundraiser, to raise money for pediatric cancer research.
Andrea Thomas attended the event as a cancer survivor. “I had breast cancer. It’ll be 10 years ago April 17th. Full remission.” She continues to attend Relay not just because cancer affected her life but also because, “We all know someone whose life has been affected, and we know survivors. We also know people who’ve lost their lives.”
Thomas also spoke of the hope the event inspires, each luminaria lit to remember but also to light the way forward. “The Relay is important because it gives us the chance to celebrate and remember but also to be about the hope that comes with being in a fight. And there will be a day when we can cure cancer.”